Social media -- if you 'like' jobs, you're in luck
Parents, are you sick and tired of how much time your children waste, er, spend on Facebook? Have you had to lay down the law to get them to do their homework? Is "social media" a four-letter word at your household?
Well, I have just two words for you: Back off!
Because you're seriously messing with your kids' job prospects.
As The Times' Shan Li reported Friday, if you are social-media savvy these days, "Uncle Corporate America wants you!"
"This was the year when companies large and small began to realize the importance of social media, and there has been lots of investment in social media," said Augie Ray, a former Forrester Research analyst who now handles social media for insurance group USAA.
No one knows exactly how many social media jobs exist, but a quick scan of online recruitment sites shows a bounty of businesses looking to hire.
"On any given week, we may see hundreds of new social media jobs posted," said Kathy O'Reilly, director of social media relations for job recruitment site Monster.
The number of social media-related jobs on Monster has surged 75% over the last year, O'Reilly said. About 155 positions are available a month, up from an average of 88 a month a year ago.
I know. You old fogies thought Twitter was a sign of the apocalypse. Turns out it's this century's California Gold Rush.
Because -- and here's what parents "like" -- these jobs actually pay. As in money.
Average starting wage for social media jobs, according to the job search site Simply Hired, is about $55,000.
So, it's not the streets that are paved in gold these days; it's cyberspace.
I mean, I knew Mark Zuckerberg got rich off this stuff, but who would've thought that Facebook would be the gift that keeps on giving?
There's just no stopping technology these days. Heck, just this week The Times reported that the military is starting to equip some pilots and troops with iPads, and also that "engineers and researchers at Boeing Co. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an iPhone application to fly a miniature drone aircraft from some 3,000 miles away."
And you thought those violent video games were a waste of time! Now it's "damn the torpedoes, full joystick ahead!"
Still, it's not all champagne and caviar in this brave new social media world:
"I have trouble explaining my job to my mother," said Scott Skurnick, whose title at Edmunds is executive director of search engine optimization and social media programming.
Worse, he said, "I have a hard time keeping a straight face when I tell people what I do for a living."
Trust me, Scott, any parent would much rather you have trouble explaining what it is you do than explaining why you're moving back home.
So parents, practice this line: "Enough with the homework, young man. You haven't spent nearly enough time on Facebook today!"
-- Paul Whitefield
Photo: Evan Cunningham is social media manager for Pabst Brewing Co. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times